Why the Minority does not approve Otiko as Gender Minister

BY: Jasmine Arku
Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba

The Minority in Parliament has explained that they do not want Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba to be approved as a minister of state because she did not take part in the compulsory national service after her tertiary education.

Additionally, they believe her temperament and attitude does not give assurance that she will be able to better manage the affairs of Ghanaian children and women.

Consequently, they want Parliament to reject her nomination.

Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Friday presented its report on six additional ministerial nominees of President Akufo-Addo after vetting them.

By consensus, the Committee recommended the approval of five of them but that of Madam Otiko Djaba was approved by majority decision.

All 10 minority members on the committee voted to reject her nomination but the majority voted to recommend her approval.

The five whose approval were recommended by consensus were Mr John Peter Amewu (Lands and Natural Resources), Mr Dan Kweku Botwe (Regional Re-organisation and Development), Mr Samuel Atta Akyea (Works and Housing), Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah (Employment and Labour Relations) and Dr Anthony Akoto Osei (Monitoring and Evaluation).

The plenary by the voice vote approved the nomination of the five and President Akufo-Addo will later on Friday swear them into office and present them with their instruments of office.

The Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu in justifying their stance on Otiko Djaba on the floor of Parliament, said their difficulty in approving the nominee had to do with her temperament and attitude.

According to him, the nominee's posture during vetting when her attention was drawn to certain remarks she made about former President John Mahama ahead of the 2016 elections was improbable.

Read also: I owe Mahama no apologies – Otiko

“Mr Speaker, we have heard the public question the Appointments Committee that sometimes we take too long on our question. Mr Speaker, the longer it is, the better we know the temperament of the nominee. We are not just looking at your understanding of policy or subject matter. We are interested in your temperament,” he said.

Mr Iddrisu also indicated that the minority could not approve the nominee due to her failure to undertake her national service.

Citing Section seven of the Ghana National Service Scheme Act, 1980 (Act 426), Mr Iddrisu noted that Madam Otiko Djaba’s failure to do her national service disqualified her from holding public office.

Section seven of the Act states that: 1)  A person who has not commenced and completed his period of national service shall not—

(a)  obtain employment outside the Scheme; or

(b)  be employed by any other person outside the Scheme; or

(c)  be engaged in any employment outside the Scheme, whether self-employed or otherwise, without the prior permission, in writing, of the Board.

(2) It shall be the duty of every employer to ascertain from every employee, upon his appointment, whether or not he is liable to national service and if he is, the employer shall notify the fact to the Board forthwith.

“Having done that, does that qualify her for public office or employment within the public sector, we are convinced that is no,” Mr Iddrisu said.

On his part, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wa Central , Mr Rashid Pelpuo held that Madam Otiko Djaba was not “humble” and “compassionate” in her posturing.

“My surprise about her is that she is coming to occupy a ministry that demands a lot of compassion and humility but she did not show any of these things when she was confronted with the question of “insulting” a former president.

To him the area the nominee was being considered for was an area the person occupying will have to show that she can forgive and draw people together and also, "have to demonstrate that with everything that happens she can forgive… [but] she did not show an incline of humility, respect for elders and that she can bring people together,” he said.